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Conversations around mental health shouldn’t be isolated to one month, but May’s dedicated Mental Health Awareness Month elevates conversations around mental well-being at the forefront of thought. When it comes to fashion and footwear, the month-long acknowledgment of mental health struggles and resilience marks a time for brands to get creative when it comes to supporting nonprofits on the frontlines of mental health activism.
Whether through limited-edition collections or innovative content partnerships, brands are helping to push the conversation around mental illness-related stigma and meaningful self-care forward throughout May.
Here are some brands making a tangible impact throughout the month in support of mental health.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Nike launched a new podcast titled “No Off-Season,” which features notable Nike athletes discussing how they have confronted mental health struggles to help address mental health stigma in sports. Guests include NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns, track-and-field star Raven Saunders, Paralympic athlete Tatyana McFadden, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, and other athletes at the top of their fields. The podcast, which is available on Nike’s Trained feed on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, is hosted by Dr. Shairi Turner and Natalia Dayan, who both work with the mental health nonprofit Crisis Text Line.
In 2020, Kenneth Cole launched the Mental Health Coalition, which brings together more than three dozen nonprofits, businesses, brands, celebrities and influencers to help destigmatize mental illness and promote mental health. For Mental Health Awareness Month, the coalition launched a social media campaign called “Feel Your Feelings,” which helps encourage people to identify and honor their wide range of emotions. Throughout the month, Kenneth Cole will be posting mental health content across social media, encouraging followers to do the same using the hashtag #feelingmoody. Earlier in the month, Mental Health Coalition also joined with Pinterest for an in-person immerse experience in New York City called “Pinterest Havens: A Whole Mood With The Mental Health Coalition,” which explored the connection between color and mood.
In April 2022, Toms transitioned its buy-one-give-one give-back model, embracing to a charitable giving model that includes donating one-third of annual profits to mental health nonprofits. Though Toms gives back to mental health organizations all year long, the company launched its Wear Good campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month, which runs from May to October. A play on the phrase “We’re good,” the campaign involves partnerships with noted mental health nonprofits like Brave Trails, The Dinner Party, Homeboy Industries, L.A. LGBT Center and Venice Family Clinic. Toms will work with each organization in different ways, allowing each nonprofit to determine how the footwear brand can best support its cause.
Crocs and singer SZA partnered up for Mental Health Awareness Month, releasing a limited-edition collection to benefit mental health nonprofits. As part of the partnership, SZA selected a group of activists and artists in the mental health space — dubbed SZA’s Superheroes — to select the nonprofits that would receive proceeds from the Good Vibes! collection. The chosen organizations include Sad Girls Club, The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, My Sistah House, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The wood-grain Crocs and corresponding mental health-themed Jibbitz sold out upon release in the first week of May.
Saks Fifth Avenue
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Saks Fifth Avenue launched a social media campaign in partnership with holistic psychologist and intergenerational trauma expert Dr. Mariel Buqué to share self-care information and practices with followers. The brand also launched a set of $5 positive affirmation decals displaying Dr. Buqué tips with 100% of the proceeds going toward Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation‘s mental health work. For May, Saks also developed an open grant for nonprofits seeking funding for mental health programs, which organizations can apply for to support mental health programs in their communities.
For Mental Health Awareness Month, Boohoo announced a seven-day program in collaboration with neuropsychologist and social media influencer The Brain Coach. The Body Image Cleanse is a program designed to reframe how participants think about their bodies, addressing negative thoughts and teaching self-love practices. The “cleanse” is available online for free on Boohoo’s website, with the brand partnering with social media influencers to promote the program to their respective audiences.